The new normal

That was then. This is now.

Covid-19 brought change. The phrase “the new normal” arose. It meant any global change—good or bad. The change was usually unexpected and became routine. For example, hoarding toilet paper became “the new normal”. As did masks: face or chin.

More nouns became verbs. “Distance” gave us “distancing”. The new normal was “social distancing”. It wasn’t “lone distancing”, “stoic distancing”, or “Vitameatavegamin distancing”. To name a distant few.

Climate change became the new normal. Folks (and animals) got used to more fires, floods, and heat and cold extremes. They ranted about cause and effect. And other incivilities.

But new normals are immature normals. Nouns have long transitioned into verbs. We have long masked the landscape with cigarette butts, plastic bottles, and bags. We’ve made climate change. Rants and aints always cheer on.

“Normal” is a setting on the washer and dryer: there has long been laundry. It yearns from the hamper, “Do me! Do me!”

Our minds wait with bated breath for the next new normal. Will Artificial Intelligence bring a moment of civility to Congress? Will our heat pump and solar power help clean the climate? Will a cleaner climate yield tolerance in the Middle East?

Will we peer Through the Looking Glass of the next James Webb Telescope? Will we see so far back in space and time so warped we see ourselves?

For now, we’ll flush the toilet paper and fill the hamper yet again.

And not hold our bated breath.